Cozy up to a mug of this sweet, creamy White Hot Chocolate on a cold winter’s day. You only need 4 ingredients and 10 minutes! Don’t miss the spiked variations for adults, in the recipe notes.
Confession: The first time I tasted White Hot Chocolate, it wasn’t my favorite thing. It was years ago, and I was out with a friend for a Christmas tree lighting. We’d picked up a few cups to keep ourselves warm on that chilly December night.
It did the warming trick, but goodness gracious, was that commercial white hot chocolate sweet! I could only manage to drink half of it. But, I loved the vanilla flavor, and the coziness factor of drinking what felt very much like a mug of steamy, warm milk.
Soon after, I started making white hot chocolate at home, where I could easily adjust the sweetness to my own preferences. Rich, creamy, and just sweet enough, this comforting white hot chocolate will warm you up all the way to your toes. It’s become one of my favorite cold weather treats!
What is White Chocolate?
White chocolate is made from cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. It does not have cacao solids, which is what gives dark and milk chocolate varieties their characteristic color.
Since white chocolate lacks cocoa solids, it’s sparked quite a bit of debate over the years about whether or not it can rightfully be called chocolate. Some have called it a “white lie.”
I tend to agree with David Lebovitz that the white chocolate dispute is a matter of nomenclature. In an interview with the Washington Post, Lebovitz said,
“We still call hamburgers by that name, even though they are not made of ham, and milkshakes actually aren’t shaken these days, but blended. So I think it’s okay to group white chocolate in with the rest of the variety of things made from cacao beans, since they all have the same base.”
That having been said, like chocolate in general, not all white chocolate is created equal. Sweetness levels, especially, can vary quite a bit by brand.
So, if you’ve found white chocolate in the past to just be too sweet, I’d encourage you to try another brand. Really good white chocolate is buttery and mild in flavor, with notes of vanilla.
I like white chocolate to be sweet but not cloying, such as Guittard, Callebaut (pictured), and Lindt.
How to Make White Hot Chocolate
White Hot Chocolate couldn’t be easier to make. Just heat milk and a little bit of cream in a pot until hot, but not boiling. Then whisk in vanilla extract and white chocolate, and serve.
For the chocolate, you can use either chopped white chocolate from a block, or chips. Since it’s the predominant flavor in the mug, use the best quality white chocolate you can here.
Unlike the dark versions of my Peppermint Hot Chocolate and Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate, you won’t need to add sugar to this recipe. The white chocolate on its own is enough to sweeten the milk.
Serving White Hot Chocolate
I like to top a warm mug of this White Hot Chocolate with lightly-sweetened whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings. Marshmallows are a great if you like a sweeter sip.
This hot chocolate should be served as soon as possible after it’s made. As it sits, the cocoa butter in the white chocolate will form a thin film on the top of the mug (or pot). If this happens, no worries! Just re-whisk, pour, and enjoy.
White Hot Chocolate is a delicious treat for all ages, but for a special sip for the adults, this recipe spikes beautifully. My favorite addition is bourbon, but you can use anything you’d like, from spiced rum to Bailey’s or Amaretto.
Add the alcohol taste, depending on how strong (and sweet, if you’re using a sweet liqueur), you want your boozy White Hot Chocolate to be.
Spiked or not, this creamy drink is cozy, comforting, and just begging for the arrival of a snowstorm!
White Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup milk (whole or 2% work best)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2-3 ounces white chocolate ⅓ cup, chopped (or chips)*
- ½ to 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (see notes)
- whipped cream and/or marshmallows , for serving
- Combine milk and cream in a small pot. Warm, over medium low heat, stirring often, until bubbles begin to form around the sides and wisps of steam rise from the pot.
- Reduce heat to low and add white chocolate and vanilla extract. Stir or whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
- Pour into mugs and serve immediately with whipped cream and/or marshmallows.
I multiplied this recipe by 8 for Christmas Eve while we were opening presents and everyone loved it! I put out a bunch of liqueurs and let the grownups spike it however they wanted. Really good recipe. Thanks!